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Mother's Day is 11 May
Mother's Day is 11 May

Love that will not let me go

Throughout an otherwise tumultuous childhood, God’s love could be found in a grandmother’s gentle mothering care, writes Jenny Noble.

I am told I started living with Gramma from age three. I can remember being on her farm before that, and I was definitely in her care by my first year of primary school. A dysfunctional marriage coupled with alcohol set the scene for my parents’ very rocky relationship and many years of heartache.

Jenny Noble

Jenny Noble

But at Gramma’s place peace reigned. We would spend months and months in Gramma’s care—and then be pulled back into the family home for short periods of time as my parents tried hard to work things out. I lived with an old cardboard school port under the bed packed with my treasures ready to flee back to the sanctuary that was my grandparents’ home at a moment’s notice.

Memories of that home, and it was a home, were wet days making cubby houses over the lounge with blankets and sunny days running under the sprinkler in the late evening. There were the same rituals every day: “Have you got a hanky? Have you brushed your teeth? God bless and see you tonight.” These words have followed me throughout my life.

We said grace at every meal, and while it was not a particularly “preachy” home, I could feel God’s presence in Gramma’s life in strong but gentle ways.

Attendance at church and women’s guild were a given. Gramma still has her Bible and a devotional book of some sort near her bed. God and his presence are so natural to her that without having to preach, Gramma taught me what living with God really meant.

Gramma’s mothering continued into my teenage years, into my sometimes “wild-child” years, and then into marriage and settling down. Like all good mothers she has journeyed with my family through the good and the bad times.

I recently attended a retreat day where the theme was “Do you gaze at those around you in love as our Father gazes at his beloved children, or do you glare at them in your humanity?”

I honour my Gramma every Mother’s Day for constantly mirroring God’s gaze over my life. Even though she is now in care, her mothering is still a part of our conversations. As I have strived to raise my children in a home of love and peace, I thank God for Gramma’s example.

Jenny Noble is a member of Middle Ridge Uniting Church, Toowoomba and a Blue Care Chaplain.

Jenny’s grandmother is 108 years old and a member of Clayfield Uniting Church.

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